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Facility management

The Confocal and Light Microscope Imaging Facility is a core facility at UCT specialising in advanced light microscope imaging for fluorescence and data analyses.

Dirk Lang

The Facility is headed by Associate Prof Dirk Lang, senior lecture and imaging specialist.  He obtained his PhD from the University of Konstanz in Germany where he also worked as a postdoc. He took up his academic position at UCT in 2000 and has acquired substantial experience in teaching and research since then. He is also involved in post-graduate course convenorship and teaching. His main research interests are the development and repair of the nervous system, and he has published extensively in this field. Much of his work involves specialised light microscopy techniques (transmitted light, time-lapse, wide field fluorescence and confocal) on a wide variety of systems.  Prof Lang has international recognised expertise in advanced light microscopy imaging to offer scientists and primary researchers at UCT and other academic institutions.


Susan Cooper

Mrs Susan Cooper is the Technical Manager of the Facility and is responsible for the day-to-day running of the facility.  She worked as a Medical Scientist /lecturer (M Med Sc; B Ed in Tertiary Education) in Anatomical Pathology at the University of the Free State for many years, specializing in Transmission Electron Microscopy for ultrastructural research and pathology. In 2004 she completed an MBA in General Management and joined UCT in 2007, and together with Prof Dirk Lang started the Confocal and Light Microscope Imaging Facility.


Carla van Niekerk

Carla van Niekerk studied BSc Behavioural Genetics at University of the Free State and completed an Honours degree in Medical Science at UCT in 2018. She is currently doing master’s in medical science at UCT. 

Carla joined the facility as a Technical Assistant in May 2017 and is still involved in the day-to-day running of the facility. She is also responsible for setting up and managing the online booking system, Calpendo, and helping with administrative functions, assisting users on the microscopes and dealing with consumables. 


Caron Jacobs

Dr Caron Jacobs completed her BSc (Hons) (2009) and then MSc (2012) in Biochemistry at the University of Pretoria and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Pretoria. Her work there made use of fluorescent microscopy assays to study nuclear architecture and transcriptional regulation in Plasmodium falciparum. Caron completed her PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology at University College London in 2018, where she specialised in super-resolution microscopy, applying innovative imaging and quantitative analytical techniques to study virus infection processes. Caron is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the Mhlanga lab at University of Cape Town, where she is working to develop imaging and analytical tools for spatially-derived omics. She also provides technical expertise and training support for the super-resolution imaging platform at UCT.


Digby Warner

In 2015 Digby Warner,  an Associate Professor in the Division of Medical Microbiology and an Associate Member of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM), joined the team as a co-applicator for a grant to purchase the Super-resolution confocal microscope.

His research is aimed at understanding fundamental aspects of mycobacterial physiology and metabolism, with a focus on the molecular mechanisms that underlie the evolution and propagation of drug resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. He has published over 30 original research, review, and commentary articles in international journals; book chapters on M. tuberculosis physiology and metabolism, DNA repair and replication, and TB drug discovery; as well as articles in popular science journals.  Dr Warner supervises a cohort of postdoctoral researchers, PhD, MSc, and Honours students; in addition, he is extensively involved in post- and undergraduate course convenorship and teaching.  He serves as Chair of the Faculty of Health Sciences Biosafety Committee and Chair of the IDM Health & Safety Committee and, until 2015, was Lead Academic in charge of the core Biological Safety Level 3 laboratory in the IDM.  Dr Warner’s special interest is in applying fluorescence and super-resolution microscopy to elucidate molecular mechanisms involved in mycobacterial metabolism and pathogenesis.